BENIN – Ylomi, an online service that matches customers with vetted local professionals, has raised CFA10 million (US$16,600) in seed funding to strengthen its team with a focus on scaling. 

The equity investment, which will come with mentoring for the team and other in-kind support, was made in Ylomi by the Benin Business Angel Network (BBAN). 

BBAN is a network of Business Angels based in Benin. 

Launched in April 2019 at the end of the Early Stage Startup Investment Conference (ESSIC), it is made up of local entrepreneurs and the diaspora, investors and professionals willing to invest their money, open their networks and guide ecosystem entrepreneurs. 

The network will help provide seed money to promising startups to help them grow quickly. Ylomi is its first investment. 

“The COVID-19 crisis is accelerating fundamental transformations in local customer behaviours, pushing online services to the forefront of our community. Ylomi facilitates this digital change and it makes sense to our angels to promote such an application, given the unique circumstances,” said Medea Degbe, president of the BBAN.  

“In addition to the funding, our organisation will also invest substantial in-kind resources, including mentoring and connections to its business networks, to help the team grow and achieve its ambitious goals.” 

BBAN plans to invest in another 3-5 startups other than Ylomi this year, focused particularly on startups bringing practical solutions to the COVID-19 crisis. 

“While this pandemic poses grave challenges to our society, BBAN is committed to supporting the ecosystem, in developing the most appropriate solutions and reinforcing the new behavioural norms,” said Degbe. 

The BBAN makes available to startups in the start-up or development phase financing from individual or group investment made up of equity investments or convertible debt. 

Beyond the financial aspect, entrepreneurs benefit from the expertise of Business Angels (BA) who offer them quality mentorship and support in order to improve the management of their businesses. 

The BBAN provides entrepreneurs with a vast relational network, important for expanding their fields of action and accelerating the growth of their businesses.